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The Grady County Historical Society received the green light Monday night to proceed with painting a mural on the south wall of the Grady County Museum and History Center.
The Cairo City Council unanimously approved the first-ever public artwork/mural application. A committee of the Downtown Development Authority previously approved and recommended final approval by the council.
“We can start right away,” Museum and History Center director Don Nickerson told the council Monday night and he projected without any unforeseen delays or weather issues the project could be completed by the end of May.
“This is exciting,” Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III, said.
The council was introduced to muralist Tracy Foutz-Hunt, who has been selected by the Historical Society to paint the mural.
A founding member of the American Society of Railway Artists and a signature member of the Georgia Watercolor Society, Foutz-Hunt is also a part of the Thomasville Center for the Arts’ Artist Collective and says the organization recommended her for the History Center mural. Tracy Foutz-Hunt is a native of Roanoke, Va., but chose to make the Hospitality City her home 16 years ago. The artist is no stranger to the Grady County Museum and History Center: she was previously commissioned to paint artwork now on display in the History Center’s model railroad room.
The project, according to Nickerson, is being funded by a “generous contribution” from an anonymous donor. The finished mural will be 12 feet high by 30 feet wide.
In related news, the Long family, owners of the new Punky’s in downtown Cairo, appeared before the council to introduce themselves and share some of their plans for their business. Punky’s will sell short-order food items, beer, wine and mixed drinks and also feature four pool tables.
The Longs are planning to open Punky’s next Saturday. They operated a similar business in Florida for over 30 years.
“If you’ve got a complaint with the food talk with me because I’ll be the one cooking it. At our old business, I served a lot of food. I’d go through 100 pounds of ground beef every day,” Robert Long said.
The Longs have renovated the former Radio Shack store at 141 South Broad Street for their new business.
Robert and his wife, Cindy, moved to Grady County in May 2020 at the urging of their daughter, Dr. Robyn Long, who is associated with Cairo Medical Care and is a member of the medical staff of Grady General Hospital. Cindy Long also works in the Emergency Room Department of the local hospital, but will be working after hours with her husband in the new business.
Robert Long, 67, says he was not ready to retire when he sold his business and after his daughter completed her residency at Quillen College of Medicine – East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. and she got the job here and moved to Grady County she encouraged her parents to move here, too.
Long’s business name, Punky’s, is his nickname for his daughter.